Author Topic: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”  (Read 2744 times)

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Bashful

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2013, 10:31:13 AM »
I'm sure there are other jobs out there people don't like chatting about at the grocery store that are legal, just not conversational.
This is absolutely true, although people doesn't have to be very specific about their own job. The online sex toy retailer can always say that he owns an e-commerce and so on.
You can say that you work in technology development: this can mean that you are employed in some business as well as you are developing your own app in your mom's basement :)

I vote for not rude for both: maybe the subject was bad for her and she was caught off guard, grasping for a smart reply.

Yvaine

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2013, 10:52:16 AM »
My best guess is just that he's unemployed, trying to freelance a little in some way, and it's not going well, and she's embarrassed.

CluelessBride

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2013, 01:19:41 PM »
I'm sure there are other jobs out there people don't like chatting about at the grocery store that are legal, just not conversational.
This is absolutely true, although people doesn't have to be very specific about their own job. The online sex toy retailer can always say that he owns an e-commerce and so on.
You can say that you work in technology development: this can mean that you are employed in some business as well as you are developing your own app in your mom's basement :)

I vote for not rude for both: maybe the subject was bad for her and she was caught off guard, grasping for a smart reply.

Fair point, but according to the OP the woman did respond with:

Quote
She paused for a second and said “He has his own business.” 

The pause plus the vague response *was* the bean dip. Unfortunately the OP just didn't catch on.

I don't think the OP was strictly rude in pushing for more information (we all miss social cues sometimes), but I also don't think the woman was rude for just deciding it was easier to say nothing than to try to come up with another vague answer. Especially given that it was just a casual run in. 


Bashful

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2013, 01:29:36 PM »
The pause plus the vague response *was* the bean dip. Unfortunately the OP just didn't catch on.
I guess you are right. Maybe I saw the interaction from my personal point of view: having recently started a new business I'm eager to explain what kind of business is mine in order to promote myself. Hey, I almost expect questions about my job!

becky4201

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2013, 02:10:17 PM »
I'm gonna guess he's probably unemployed too, & she's just trying to save face.

veronaz

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2013, 02:45:52 PM »
Lots of interesting feedback.

It wasn’t a big deal; I wasn’t offended.  Just thought it was strange.

I remembered that years ago the husband of a very close friend had a management position at a large corporation.  But, for a lot of reasons, he hated going to work every day.  He stuck with it for many years only because of the high salary, but it got to the point where he was so unhappy it affected their marriage.  He eventually quit and took a manual labor job for a fraction of his previous salary and loved it.  By that time, wife had moved up the ladder so they were okay financially.  But I recall (at first) her being a little worried (their son was in his first year of college and they owned a nice home in the suburbs).  She’s also quite status-conscious, so I imagine it was hard to talk to some people about it.

mrkitty

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2013, 02:51:44 PM »
I think it's valid not to answer that question for a number of reasons, though I don't think you were rude at all in asking it, OP.

I, for one, learned to evade that question after a couple of unfortunate experiences. I was on a train and a woman sat next to me who was very chatty. She asked me what I did for a living and I tried to evade by giving non-specific answers. We owned a small collection agency at the time, and after a couple of people having a VERY negative reaction to this, I decided to say simply "a financial company" instead. While not technically true, it wasn't completely false as we DID handle financial transactions. I just thought it was more PC than collection agency, because the industry has such a poor reputation (deservedly so in many instances. No argument there.)

Anyhow, she kept persisting wanting to know what business we had, (this was pre-ehell) and so I said "financial company." She assumed it was an investment firm of some kind and kept asking me for investment advice, and asking a lot of random questions such as "what's an annuity" and "how do you calculate compound interest". So, I learned after that not to disclose at. all. because now I just don't want to open that door. Thank goodness the business is gone and finished.

However, I notice that sometimes people start asking 20 questions and get really nosy. Not everyone, but sometimes. And with regard to my career, I just prefer not to talk about it, especially if it's uncomfortable, such as being unemployed. Not only is it embarrassing (to me) but even a vague answer elicits more questions. So I bean dip if it's something I just don't want to discuss. Nothing against that person - I just really, really don't want to talk about it, and I don't want to give any opportunity to discuss it. Since I'm not networking to actually get back into my old career and I'm working on certain projects at home (that have nothing to do with anyone else) I don't feel like sharing and opening up to criticism/unwelcome advice/commentary. (I'm not implying that the OP was in any way shape or form doing this; just explaining why *I* no longer like to answer questions that make me uncomfortable.)

Well, anyway, end thread hijack. But that's my personal reason for not answering anymore. Too many people got too nosy about it or decided to drop their two cents. I think a polite inquiry is fine, but when someone is evasive, it's polite to back off. (Again, not saying the OP did this at all.) But, too many people these days seem to think it's okay to play Watergate Congressional Hearing interrogator. He.  ;D

So, my general attitude is that if I'm not subpoenaed, I am gonna bean dip if I'm not comfortable answering for the above reasons. I really think a lot of people out there think it's polite to make small talk and then press the subject if they receive an evasive response...that they're showing an interest. But actually, I think when you get evasive answers (unless you are duly empowered to investigate  ;D) the polite thing to do is to back off...which is what the OP did. Totally polite of you, OP. Wish more people are like you.  ;D
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 02:59:26 PM by mrkitty »
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shhh its me

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2013, 03:21:03 PM »
  OP I don't think it was rude in the slightest but maybe a tiny bit awkward to ask an acquaintance  you haven't seen ( or spoken to ?) in years "what does your husband do?".   Of course I'm saying this from the comfort of my sofa with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.  If she didn't mention him I would suggest something more vague just "and how is Bob?".

veronaz

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2013, 03:23:46 PM »
Quote
If she didn't mention him I would suggest something more vague just "and how is Bob?".

Good idea (using the same 20/20 hindsight as you :) )

Yvaine

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2013, 03:26:50 PM »
Quote
If she didn't mention him I would suggest something more vague just "and how is Bob?".

Good idea (using the same 20/20 hindsight as you :) )

The comment that she didn't mention him gave me another thought. Their marriage may have gone south and she's bean dipping that.

staceym

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2013, 05:28:26 PM »
  OP I don't think it was rude in the slightest but maybe a tiny bit awkward to ask an acquaintance  you haven't seen ( or spoken to ?) in years "what does your husband do?".   Of course I'm saying this from the comfort of my sofa with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.  If she didn't mention him I would suggest something more vague just "and how is Bob?".

THIS!

this is where my mind went - how it went from her work and how she is doing to what kind of business her husband did - maybe she didn't connect right away; especially with someone who is an "acquaintance."

Shea

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2013, 04:42:55 PM »
I have a family member in CA who works for a marijuana distributor. He does not like many people to know, because despite being legal in CA there are still federal legal concerns. I met a guy at a beer tasting once who ran an online sex toys retailer. Crime scene cleaning is a real job.

I'm sure there are other jobs out there people don't like chatting about at the grocery store that are legal, just not conversational.

That seems likely. I have a friend who works for Planned Parenthood, and when asked about her job she usually says "I work at a health clinic" or "I'm in the medical field", because she's had some unpleasant encounters with near strangers when they discover where she works.


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Coruscation

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Re: Rude/wrong to ask “What type business?”
« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2013, 08:08:38 PM »

However, I notice that sometimes people start asking 20 questions and get really nosy. Not everyone, but sometimes. And with regard to my career, I just prefer not to talk about it, especially if it's uncomfortable, such as being unemployed.

May I make a suggestion here? Are you keeping up your end of the conversation, because that really helps. I have to disagree with this...



The pause plus the vague response *was* the bean dip. Unfortunately the OP just didn't catch on.


This was a deflection. It should have been followed by the bean dip. "He has his own business. But enough about us, tell me about you. You were always such a fun person remember *funny anecdote*.

I have found myself in the role of inquisitioner and its usually because the other person won't give anything more than yes and no questions. I am not usually interested, I am just trying to keep the conversation flowing in a situation where social norms dictate that a conversation be present. I keep a small store of stories to tell people but after I tell one, it is the other persons turn. I find most people want to talk about themselves and a few questions gets them going but sometimes you get into a rut where you are trying to find a topic of conversation and are desperate to turn up something interesting "Really, a sex toy business, tell me more?" I am an INTJ so I have struggled with this, so I realise that it is hard. Sometimes I think the 'sayings ehell suggests are either a trifle dismissive or not specific enough.